18 bodies found after jihadists attack Malian hotel

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Malian national television reported that no more hostages were being held at a luxury hotel after a day-long siege by Islamic militants.

10 gunmen had stormed the hotel shouting “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” in Arabic before firing on guards. A staffer at the hotel who gave his name as Tamba Diarra said over the phone that the attackers used grenades in the assault.

The attackers seized about 170 hostages on Friday morning at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

National broadcaster ORTM, citing security officials, said 18 bodies already had been at the hotel and that no more hostages were being held. A source with Mali’s U.N. mission said at least 12 bodies had been recovered from the hotel. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

It was not immediately clear whether attackers were still alive inside the hotel.

In this image made available by Malikahere.com security personnel, attend close to the scene of an attack on a hotel in Bamako, Mali Friday Nov. 20, 2015. (Photo: Associated Press)
In this image made available by Malikahere.com security personnel, attend close to the scene of an attack on a hotel in Bamako, Mali Friday Nov. 20, 2015. (Photo: Associated Press)

A U.S. military official said at least six Americans have been evacuated from the Radisson Blu hotel.

Gunfire continued into the late afternoon, and Malian army commander Modibo Nama Traore said operations were continuing.

An extremist group that two years ago split from al-Qaida’s North Africa branch, known as the Mourabitounes, claimed responsibility for the attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. A recorded statement carried by Al-Jazeera issued Friday said the Mourabitounes had attacked in coordination with the “Sahara Emirate” affiliated with al-Qaida.

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